27th September 2021 – Mediating between diplomatic emissaries from the Arab world, potential allies in Spain and UN experts, the second edition of the Diplomatic International Day has fulfilled its first objective of ensuring a strategic rapprochement between its virtual and face-to-face participants.
Gathered, once again, at the Cása Árabe in Madrid, Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives of the State of Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar and Tunisia, exchanged their own views and technical reflections on the centrality of ODS17 as a platform to promote and mobilize commitments in the achievement of Agenda 2030.
The deliberation also included the contributions of international experts from different UN agencies, who provided the event with unique perspectives of implementation from diverse fronts.
Arab Ambassadors call for the twinning of the Arab world in unison
“We cannot speak of regional progress indicators in the achievement of the SDGs in the Arab region, if we do not allow ourselves a clearer and honest vision of the prevailing siege of the Palestinian people, as well as the impact of decades of Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We must focus, for instance, on the capacity for resilience, as well as the individual and collective empowerment of girls and women as an alternative for development”, said Mrs. Safaa Mhalwes, Third Secretary of the Palestinian Embassy in Madrid.
On the other hand, referring to the stabilization process in his country, the Ambassador of Iraq, mr. Adel Mustafa Kamil Alkurdi, assured that “only a multidisciplinary approach will allow our nation to promote social and economic recovery. And efforts must focus on alliances that shelter the most vulnerable populations; those hardest hit by decades of war and the ravages left by the infiltration of extremist groups throughout the national territory.”
“Human Development will not be authentic if we do not urgently address the environmental sustainability of our production systems,” said Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman, Mrs. Kifaya Bint Khamis Al-Raisi. “A key aspect we need to confront in the Sultanate is the link between accelerated human development versus the irreparable damage that we are causing to our natural resources in the process”, Mrs. Bit Khamis added.
For her part, the Plenipotentiary Minister of the Tunisian Embassy, Mrs. Hazar Sassi, referred to the country’s political reform in the field of education, which has given a propulsive stimulus to research and development through the creation of technological hubs. “As a nation, we now must face as a nation a series of challenges that are common to the entire Arab world, particularly those related to equity and social justice, the equal participation of women in the design of public policies and the measures that will allow everyone’s access to the opportunities of innovation and specialization. This will only be possible if we identify the ideal partners for international cooperation in a timely manner, as well as public and private actors, that bring us closer to real and tangible compliance with the SDGs.”
From the sectoral to the strategic: The specialized vision of UN Agencies:
Helene Papper, Global Communications Director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), presented the work of this UN body in ensuring the cross-cutting and interconnected strengthening of the SDGs. “By adapting rural areas by investing in small farmers, we ensure coverage of SDG1 (End of Poverty) and SDG2 (Zero Hunger). The use of innovative measures to promote the empowerment of rural women is fundamental in this effort, with which we also address SDG 5 (Gender equality) and SDG 10 (Reduction of inequalities)”, said Papper, who joined the debate through webcast via Zoom from Rome, the organization’s headquarters.
“We foster inclusive, diversified and productive rural economies that create dignified employment opportunities and higher incomes. But we would not advance in this endeavor if we did not apply a fundamental approach based on partnerships and SDG 17 to our work,” added the IFAD expert.
Closing the central debate, the floor was given to Mr. Felipe Queipo Rego, specialist in Civil Society and Inter-Cultural Dialogue at the UN Global Communications Department in New York, who noted that the central objective of the 2030 Agenda to Leave No One Behind implies that “the implementation of the SDGs must not only be universal and comprehensive in essence, but also decidedly participatory, thus offering measurable and sustainable solutions to structural problems that go far beyond quantitative indicators”. Queipo added a reflection on the SDGs and Agenda 2030 as a whole as a natural extension of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but this time presented as a more didactic and straightforward tool which should significantly assist in the design of scalable and more inclusive public policies.
The event culminated with a statement by Don Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa, who served as mayor of the city of Los Angeles from 2005 to 2013. Also a renowned spokesman for the California State Assembly, Villaraigosa contributed his particular views on the indubitable value of ODS17 in terms of promotion and financing of the SDGs globally.
Road to November: The Design of Collective Commitments
As a projection in the immediate term, debates held in the framework of editions 1 and 2 of the Diplomatic International Day (DID) must now give shape to the formulation of concrete proposals, which will be analyzed, presented and endorsed during the Diplomatic International Week, to be held from 23rd to 25th November.
The Diplomatic International Week was conceived, in principle, as a technical Working Group addressing SDG clusters by topics, which will involve Ambassadors, Academia, the Private Sector and other allies in the identification of sustainable initiatives on various fronts. Initiatives validated by the Working Group will receive technical and financial support from members and associates of the Diplomatic Coalition, founder and principal promoter of this initiative.